Guy Keulemans

Hello everyone, excited to be meeting you all at the workshop next week. I am a product designer working on a PhD at the College of Fine Arts here in Sydney. My interest is domestic products – furniture, homewares, consumer products etc,-  the things with which we surround our lives, and which produce a  subject on which I can be quite obsessive.  For my studies I am researching our relationships to products, the affects these relationships produce, and how they transmit through the sensation of form.

In my practise I approach the production of objects with a concern for longevity. I like repair, especially repair systems which not only restore or shift function, but also aesthetically transform. The open and active transformation of products has a potential to produce life long engagement, which is my response to the problems of production, consumption and waste. I like slow design, though I struggle with the concept that slowness is at the mercy of speed. I am fascinated by generative systems, which i implement with non-digital approaches. It is this aspect of my work which takes me closest to diagrammatic expression. For example, a repaired object can express its history through a decorative skin or structural truss, like a scar or the self healing of trees or bone. I’ve also experimented with generative installations powered by crowds and demography, which in the hindsight seem very diagrammatic – though really the disorder of heterogeneity prevents a clear diagrammatic reading, doesn’t it?

For my life diagram I present six images from a three-dimensional digital model of my wife and baby in a bedroom. This was constructed from an iphone video I took and then processed using the SwirlApp, programmed by my colleague Josh Harle. The app maps video colours and textures into three-dimensional form. Here is the feed video for those that want to compare the generator with the generated. Still objects, such as pillows, bookshelves and a laptop are rendered fairly clearly whereas moving objects, namely my wife and child, are distorted, somewhat grotesquely, somewhat inchoate. For me this presents both a reflection and inversion of the relationships we have with objects and people. The reflection is that objects are still, they don’t typically change form in any substantial way, but people do in the very substantial manner of growing and ageing . The inversion is that people tend to remain constant in our lives whilst the products we use increasingly tend to arrive and disappear, come and go and be consumed and discarded. Is the very reason we discard objects because their solidity produces disinterest? In contrast, the inchoate incipience of people presents a ceaseless and unyielding mystery

That’s what interest me primarily, but perhaps there other aspects to these images which connect to Deleuze’s essay “Immanence: A life.” Maybe the notion that no matter how affectively dissonant a representation might appear, there is always a connection to our lives, through the many cascading layers of virtuality with which we sense the world. Behind which is actuality, unknown, unconcsious and hidden.

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About Guy Keulemans

Guy Keulemans is a multidisciplinary designer, artist and researcher working across product design, graphics, installation and sustainability theory. In his studio practise he produces critical objects informed by history, philosophy and experimental methodology. Major themes are repair, generative processes, and the environmental concerns of production and consumption. Guy has a research interest in the material conditions of production and consumption and the threats particular system conditions presents to sustainability. He is also interested in traditional Japanese culture and aesthetics in relevance to to contemporary social and environmental sustainability, the relationships between aesthetics and short-term/long-term thinking, and the risks posed by the dominance of the hylomorphic model in product design. These topics were the subjects of his doctoral thesis and are areas of ongoing research. Guy’s research is interrogated and reflected through material experimentation and design within his studio practice. Guy has a Masters in Humanitarian Design from the Design Academy Eindhoven and a PhD from the University of New South Wales’ Art & Design, where he also lectures. He has exhibited in museums and galleries in the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Poland, including ARS Electronica, the Marres Centre for Contemporary Culture, COCA Torun and Platform 21, and in Australia, at Object, Craft ACT and Craft Victoria. In 2015 Guy was resident artist at JamFactory Contemporary Craft & Design Centre in Adelaide. Current research concerns transformative repair craft and design as practised by visual arts professionals in relation to issues craft, experimental design, service economies, emerging technologies and sustainable futures.

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